Thursday, July 12, 2018

Potential Uniform Plates

I've got enough miniatures 3D printed to field one army.  Now I just need to decide how to paint them.  They will all have a very simple paint scheme.  I won't be painting any buttons, sashes, belts, pockets, footwear, satchels, epaulets, or facings because my models don't have any.  The jacket will be one color and the pants will be another.  All tricornes will be black with a white or yellow brim.

Unfortunately I think I'll just be doing a blue army and a red army for now.  I'd like to keep them generic enough that no one looks at them and assumes a nationality, but historic enough that they wouldn't feel out of place.  I really like the look of a green and black uniform, but it doesn't stand out enough against green gaming surfaces and green forests. 

Below are my quick sketches.  I found the template from google, originally on emperor v. elector, and traced the outline in PowerPoint so I could easily fill the simple shapes. 

I appreciate all feedback on the uniforms.  In my actual painting, cuffs, belts, buttons, and scarves will be ignored.  They are included here only for reference.  I'm a little worried that Blue's irregulars and Red's militia aren't different enough.  I hope this is mitigated by the militia model being three soldiers and the irregular model being two soldiers.  I also don't really like how both armies use their color and white for regular/artillery and color and dark for all mounted units.  They seem too standardized to be from different countries.  I tired having a French-style white jacket and colored pants, but it didn't seem like it provided enough space for the national color to be easily recognizable, especially on the mounted and artillery units. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Testing the Rules

I've been editing/tweaking the rules for a while and playtesting as I go.  I printed the models I've designed for Horse and Musket games at 18mm scale.  They were a challenge for my printer.  Their small size tricked the printer into thinking it could go a lot faster than it should.  I manually reduced speed to less than half of my normal printing speed for larger items. 
I painted some of them with spray primer craft store acrylic paints.  I'm still working on the paint scheme.  I need a way to differentiate the dismounted dragoons, irregulars, and militias from the regulars.  My ruleset does not currently have elite or inferior units, so don't have to worry about making each unit unique.  Perhaps in the future national identities and imagi-nations may develop, but for now they're going to be army red and army blue. 
My lovely wife designed a template for making hexagons with 2" between parallel sides which she cut out of printer paper on her Cricut.  I used the template on a piece of packing paper to make a field 9 rows of 8 or 9 columns of hexes.  This size results in a compact playing  surface of18"x16".  It certainly isn't pretty but it works.  I think I have a piece of 1/8 hardboard laying around somewhere that might work if painted.
I conducted a solo play test to surrender this morning.  Occasionally referencing the rules, it took me just under 45 minutes from deployment to surrender.  The surrendering player did not make an effort to salvage forces by continuing play and retreating units off of the board, choosing to surrender once defeat was inevitable.
Lessons Learned:
Distinguishing unit types from a distance is critical. Irregulars and Dragoons look similar. 
Keeping units near the center of the hex makes determining facing easier.
Keeping track of initiative points is critical.  Solved by keeping dice off board with each pip representing an iniative point. 
Keeping your general alive and relevant is very helpful.  The combat bonuses are important, but the inability to rally can end the game quickly. 
I like that each unit completes its activation before activating another.  This prevents the problem of handling combined attacks.  The only real downside is that a unit could make multiple moves worth of retreated distance. 
Things I Might Change:
Currently two units of regular infantry can form a regiment and execute identical orders as one unit.  This can make their firepower overwhelming.  It makes them seem a little overpowered.
All units get a +1 bonus when attacking militia and a +2 when melee attacking artillery. 
Currently irregulars can engage in melee.  Based on the exact period in history irregulars could represent light infantry which would engage in melee or skirmishers who would not.
Currently artillery can reposition during the battle.  For most of the 18th Century, artillery was largely immobile once the firing began. 

I've done enough tweaks to the rules that I should re-upload them soon.  I'd like to upload them as a PDF.  What is the best way to do this? 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Rules v2.0

The following rules are roughly intended to fulfill the original intent of this blog.  These rules can be used for "Horse and Musket" operational level games.  The basic infantry units are intended to represent battalions.  They are designed to be grid based using a relatively small grid, perhaps 8x9 up to 9x12.  They are abstract enough for non-historians to play, but I think provide some historic feel. 
There are some admitted shortcomings that I hope to address after playtesting a few times.  My first edit will be to get the defender to have a roll/role (Pun Intended) in the combat process.  Currently the attacker is the only player to roll during combat.  The defender's bonuses simply count as negative modifiers to the attacker.  This mechanism makes it easier to play solo, but could leave a defending player feeling helpless.

I also need to devise some way of locking units into melee.  In many games (and in history), low quality infantry can be used to prevent the movement of higher value troops while cavalry swings around from the flank/rear, delivering a massive blow.  In my rules, melee ends at the end of the player's turn with a successful attack or a repelled charge.  This prevents combined attacks from multiple sides.

Please consider playtesting these for me and let me know what you think.  Also if you read through the rules and have questions or don't understand what I've intended to write let me know and I'll gladly clarify.  My end-goal is to have a set of rules that I can play with my friends who prefer board-games due to their simplicity and unambiguousness. 

Board and Scale:
The board should be gridded in either a hexagonal or square pattern.  Units should be able to fit entirely in a single grid.  If using a hexagonal grid, units face corners, not sides.  All ranges and movement is measured through sides. If using a square grid, units face sides and never corners.  All ranges and movement is measured through the sides.
Regardless of cell shape, all terrain impacts the entire cell.  Terrain should be movable so that units may establish any facing they choose. 
Turn Sequence
Determine Iniative Points
Artillery Phase
Player A Turn
Player B Turn

Determine Iniative Points
Roll 2D6.
Add or subtract relevant modifiers.
The modified result determines the number of IPs the player may expend this turn. The player who has a higher modified result chooses which player will be player A for this turn. 

Artillery Phase
Player A performs their artillery phase first, but because artillery fire is simultaneous, no effects will be felt until after the artillery phase.  If player A’s artillery fires on player B’s battery and destroys it, player B may still fire that battery this artillery phase.  Firing artillery consumes one IP.  Players fire as many artillery units as they wish.  Artillery which has fired may not move in the player’s turn.

Artillery Attack Process
Follow Combat Procedure to determine the outcome of shooting combat. 

+1:       Shooting into Flank/Rear
            Target within ½ of max range
-1:        Target in cover
            Attacking while disordered
            Enemy Commander adjacent to target

Player’s Turn
After the artillery phase Player A completes their turn. Once all of Player A’s IPs have been expended or forfeited, Player B activates their units.  Once both players have completed their player turn, a new game turn begins with an artillery phase.

Expending IP
IP are expended by activating or attempting to rally units. Players may never expend more IP than they were awarded.  Attempting to rally a unit costs one IP.  Activating a unit within two tiles of a commander costs one IP.  Activating a unit further than two tiles from a commander costs two IP.  Once activated a unit may; move, or move and then engage in combat.  Units may not engage in combat and then move unless they are moving to occupy a tile vacated as a result of melee combat.

 Rally Units
Only commanders may attempt to rally troops.  Commanders must be within two tiles of the unit they are attempting to rally.  If successful, a disorganized unit regains its composure and returns to normal status.  Attempting to rally consumes one IP, but does not prevent that unit from being activated.   

Units may move up to their maximum movement, but may not exceed it. 
Certain terrain features negatively impact movement.  See the terrain section for details about each type of terrain. 
Movement for specific units is listed on the Unit Data Table.
Units may change facing as many times as desired in the process of moving, but must end their move facing a side of a tile. 
Units who only change facing, expend the number of movement points required to move into that tile.

Activated units which have one movement point or more remaining may fire. 
Units must fire forward of their facing and may fire up to a 60 degree angle from directly forward. 
Units in built-up-areas have 360 degree firing arc. 
Units must have unobstructed LOS to the target
Range for specific units is listed on the Unit Data Table.
Follow Combat Procedure to determine the outcome of shooting combat. 

+1:       Shooting into Flank/Rear
            Shooting from cover
-1:        Target in cover
            Attacking while disordered
            Enemy Commander adjacent to target

Melee occurs when a unit attempts to occupy a tile currently occupied by an enemy unit. The attacking unit follows the combat procedure.  If the defending unit is eliminated or forced to retreat, the attacking unit may occupy the tile.  Although it may choose not to occupy the vacated tile, it must have enough movement to do so.  If the attacking unit is not successful in eliminating or forcing a retreat, it ends its turn adjacent to the defending unit.  An ordered attacker whose modified combat roll is less than six becomes disordered.  A disordered attacker whose modified combat score is less than six must retreat one tile, ignoring movement cost. 

+1:       Attacking into Flank/Rear
            Attacking from hill/forest to open
            Attacking artillery
            Commander adjacent to unit
-1:        Attacking from open to hill/forest
            Attacking while disordered
            Enemy commander adjacent to unit

Combat Procedure:
Determine that the attack is valid.
Attacker rolls 2 D6, adds modifiers and unit stats.
Consult the outcome of attack table below to determine how the defending unit must react. 

A failure is defined as a roll where the sum of the 2D6 and modifiers is less than 6.  A partial success has a modified sum between 7 and 9.  A total success has a modified sum of 10+. 
If the defender is unable to retreat into an unoccupied tile, it is eliminated. 

Terrain is assumed to occupy the entirety of a cell.  This means that if any part of the LOS from one cell passes through closed terrain; forest, hill, or built-up-area, the entire LOS is blocked.  LOS is always measured from the center of the attacker's cell to the center of the target's cell.  If a LOS passes along the side of two closed cells, then LOS is blocked.  If LOS passes along the side of two cells and one is open, then LOS is not blocked. 

Open – Passable to all, no movement detriment, no cover
Forest – Passable only to infantry, costs additional movement point, provides cover, and obstructs LOS behind.
Hill – Passable to all, costs additional movement point, and obstructs LOS behind.
Built-Up-Area – Only infantry may end turn in BUA, provides cover, and obstructs LOS behind. When in BUA no flank/rear exists

Unit Data Table

Regular – Professional soldiers, organized into drilled battalions.  Two battalions can be organized together to form a regiment.  If the two battalions are adjacent, the regimental officer can issue a command to the other battalion, provided it is identical to the command given to him by the field general. 
Irregular – Professional or militia soldiers who fight in dispersed or skirmisher nature.  Irregular forces move through all terrain with a movement cost of 1.
Militia – Non-professional soldiers, organized into battalions.  They have some minimal training, but are not as proficient as regular battalions.  They have the same movement restrictions as regular infantry, but are never permitted to be organized into a regiment.    
Dragoons – Professional soldiers, functioning as light cavalry or highly mobile infantry.  Although they have roughly the same number of riders, they are less efficient than regular cavalry but can still deliver serious blows to irregular and militia infantry. The smaller number of soldiers makes them less efficient infantry units than battalions of regulars. Mounting or dismounting costs 1 movement point. When mounted, dragoons have the same movement restrictions as cavalry.  When dismounted, dragoons have the same movement restrictions as regular infantry.   
Cavalry – Noble sons, with substantial training.  Cavalry troopers are not armored knights, but can generally be trusted to disperse enemy formations, especially if they can charge from the flank/rear. 
Artillery – Batteries of professional gunners.  Although the guns are generally assigned to the regiments they serve, they are often grouped together and separated from their regiments to form combined batteries. 
Commanders – Appointed leaders of the army. Commanders move as cavalry, but do not have any combat ability on their own.  If attacked, the Commander may choose to retreat away from the attacking unit.  If the defending commander voluntarily retreats, the attacking unit may choose another target and roll with a +1 modifier for that turn.  Units adjacent to their commander experience a morale boost, making them more resistant to attack and more deadly in melee.

Army Composition
Army composition varied widely based on time and location.  This set of rules could likely encompass the War of Spanish Succession through the Napoleonic Era.  Players should take into consideration the historical or unhistorical setting and playing space to build their armies accordingly.
Eight units per player should play well on a 8x9 size grid. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It's been a while

I know I haven't posted in a long time.  It's been a busy time in my life with little time for this hobby of mine.  My life has been a lot more time consuming, and my other hobbies take priority over this one.  I'm currently working on two "wargaming" projects.  The first is the ongoing quest for a quick, simple, horse and musket, grid based wargame with miniatures.  I'm re-tweaking One Hour Wargames and The Portable Wargame, with a different combat system. 
I think  summing 2D6 and modifiers should provide some amount of predictability with an appropriate level of uncertainty.  In my last "completed" rules, I kept watching my elite cavalry's charges stopped by gun crews.  If the sum of 2D6 with modifiers is 10+ something very good happens for the attacker.  If the sum is 7-9 something good happens, but if the sum is <6 something bad happens.  Summing the dice before adding modifiers creates something that can approximate a normal curve.  This makes the effects of modifiers more uniform compared to determining outcomes based on rolls being above or below set values i.e. hit on 4+. 
My reworked rules will have commander units which can make troops near them more potent.  Units in the game will also have only two states of damage; Order and Disorder.  Having lots of bases making up a unit goes against my desire to keep the game compact and cheap, and having units trail a set of dice clutters the board too much for my liking.  Commanders will also be able to rally disordered units back to ordered.
The other project I'm working on is Tech?No! Bowl.  It's a football (American) simulator board game.  One of my coworkers is excited to play it and it might help transition him into more traditional wargames.  Tech?No! Bowl is very difficult to find in print, and expensive if you can find it.  I was able to find the rules for sale online from a reputable source for a reasonable price. I'll be designing 3D printing most of the pieces.  The game's designer sells boards and some of the other important pieces for a reasonable price.  The pieces I've finished can be found at the following link.
I'm planning on going camping over the Memorial Day weekend, so hopefully I can get the horse and musket game playable by then.  I'm looking forward to getting back to this and posting pictures of games soon.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Modular Shipyard

I've been working on a set of ships for Galleys and Galleons.  I'm thinking about doing a naval campaign and would need a variety of ships in different sizes/capabilities.  The following ships are made from the same pieces, but arranged in different ways to create a variety of ships.  I know that these are not remotely precise models, but they print relatively easily on my 3D printer and don't require much effort to paint. 
This shows just how different looking the ships can be, even though they're made of the same parts.  The small ship is 40% of the length of the large one.

This "galleon style" ship might be used to represent large ships. The number of cannons can be adjusted to represent a wider variety of ships. The green deck can be extended backwards or forwards to give each ship in the fleet a unique characteristic.   

This ship might be a small warship, a sloop, caravel, or other medium size ship as described in the Galleys and Galleons ruleset.  
I am in the process of designing triangular sails to allow them to be played as lateen rigged ships.  

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Smugglers Intercepted

I played a gridded-out game of Galleys and Galleons recently and thought I'd put it up here. 
Rule modifications are as follows.  Short, Medium, and Long distances are measured at 1,2, and 3 grids respectively. The rules have been modified so that galleys can move medium distance on their first move and short distance on any other moves.  The limit of two activations for movement has been removed.  Cannon fire is now limited to 1 Long + 1 Medium.  Collisions/Boarding happen in the grid of the passive ship, but both grids remain occupied and impassable. 
Please pardon the half/sloppily painted ships.  They're still work in progress and will be better next time.
A fleet of known smugglers is intercepted by the local king's navy.  The smugglers are on the defense.
Victory Conditions
A standard campaign battle between a merchant and predatory fleet from Galleys and Galleons.  The fleet scoring the most points wins. 
Order of Battle
King's Navy - 1x Boarding Galley, 2x Cannon Galley, 2x Ramming Galley (See "First Fleet" for details)
Smuggler's Fleet - 5x Caravel (Q3 C3 Merchantman, Razee) 1x Escort Caravel (Q3 C4 Merchantman, Trained Gun Crew, Master Gunner, Veteran NCOs)

The initial positions.

The smuggler's plan hinges on keeping the fleet together to minimize chaos and leave ships protected from attack on both sides.  The fleet will sail in rows until it can execute a turn and sail in columns to victory.

The King's Navy plans to use it's superior maneuverability to sit in the smuggler's path.  If they can disable the lead ships the following ships will likely collide causing devastating damage.

Chaos ensues
The King's navy was able to force surrender of the Escort Caravel. without it's most heavily armed ship, the weaker caravels should be easing pickings

A ramming ship has succumbed to repeated barrage by what's left of the line of caravels.  It sank just below the waves, still reaching out to damage ships sailing over its demise.  The engagement ended with the Escort Caravel captured, two escort caravels destroyed, one escort caravel captured, and one escaping the engagement, but straying off course.  The victorious galley fleet lost one ramming galley and the second was severely damaged.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Rules

Game Setup

Determine which player will play as attacker and defender.

Determine terrain - Defender chooses if no scenario

Attacker places ½ of force within 1L of their end of the board, unless scenario dictates otherwise

Defender places whole force within 1L of their end of the board, unless scenario dictates otherwise

Attacker places remaining ½ of force, within 1L of their end of the board, unless scenario dictates otherwise

Roll to determine which player will get the first move. 


Distances and measurements
Distances are measured in short (S), medium (M), and long (L).  Medium is equal to 2x short, and long is equal to 3x short.  It does not matter how long short is, as long as both players use the same distances. 


A player’s turn lasts until they either roll a turnover or activate all their units.

To activate a unit, roll up to three activation die.  An action is given for each die which is greater than or equal to the units quality. If a unit fails on two activations, the player has rolled a turnover.  That unit may execute a successful action, if applicable, but no other units may activate that turn.  



Colored dice are used to account for combat ability lost to casualties, decreasing morale, and/or desertion.  A unit starts with three white dice and exchanges them for colored damage dice as disorder increases.  When a unit has three colored dice and no white dice, it is crippled and has a -1 modifier on all combat rolls. 

When a unit is crippled and receives additional damage, it is removed from play. 



The core infantry unit is the regiment. Infantry regiments are divided into two battalions.  When deployed in line formation, infantry officers are positioned in the middle of their unit.  If the officer is in range of the enemy, the whole unit is in range.  Battalions cannot be separated from the regiment or merged into another regiment.  Disorder is measured at the regimental, not battalion level. 


Infantry Formations

Column: -2 Shooting, Turn one point free

Line: -2 Melee, -1 Movement

Square: No movement, -2 Shooting, +3 vs Cavalry in charge & melee



Cavalry is divided into regiments.  Regiments cannot be further divided or combined.  Cavalry is capable of changing formations so quickly that the regimental colonel can be trusted to put his troopers in the proper formation at the proper time.  Light and Heavy cavalry do not have ranged attacks.



Artillery batteries are capable of targeting units at long range, but their operators are not trained in hand-to-hand combat.  They are very vulnerable to cavalry charges.  Artillery cannot charge or recoil if engaged in melee. 

Artillery Formations
Artillery are either limbered or unlimbered.  Limbered artillery are capable of moving.  Unlimbered artillery must remain stationary.  Limbering or unlimbering artillery is treated the same as infantry changing formation. 



Move: 1 action. Units forward according to unit statistics.  Subject to terrain

Double time: 2 actions.  Move standard movement +1 short

Change formation: 1 action

Seize the Initiative: 2 actions, -1 for enemy in melee, includes closing with enemy

Recoil: 2 actions: Withdraw from melee and face unit previously engaged with. Infantry recoil 1S.  Cavalry recoil 1M.

Fire: 1 action

Aimed Shot: 2 actions, -1 for enemy in shooting

Limber/Unlimber Artillery: 2 actions, prepares artillery for fire/movement

Load Canister Short: 2 actions

Movement and Turning
Units move according to their speed.  Both players must use the same distances for short, medium, and long measurements.  Units may break their movement up, but must not exceed their total movement.  For example, an infantry unit may move 1S, pivot, and then move 1S.  It has then used three actions. 
Units may pivot around the center of the formation at a rate of 45 degrees per action spent.
Units may move forward at up to a 45 degree angle without changing facing. 

Range is the distance at which a weapon is effective in combat.  Range extends at a 45 degree angle form the front corner of a unit.  This represents the fact that the unit cannot target an enemy at a steep angle changing its facing or endangering its own members.

Line of Sight (LOS)
Only targets that can be seen can be hit.  In gridded games if more than half of the target grid is blocked from view, the whole grid is assumed to be outside of LOS.  If an infantry officer is in LOS while the unit is in line formation, the whole unit is also in LOS. Some terrain blocks LOS without providing cover.  LOS is mutual. Therefore, if unit A has LOS to unit B, unit B has LOS to unit A. 

Melee Attacks

Charges happen on first meeting of units.  Unless one unit recoils or retreats units remain locked in melee and will continue to fight until one unit withdraws or is killed.  If a unit starts its turn in melee combat no actions are required to continue combat.  Existing melees are fought even after a turnover has been rolled.


Attacking unit enters same tile as / comes into contact with defending unit. Both units roll, add Melee Combat value, add modifiers.

If defender > double attacker; 1 disorder to attacker and recoils 1 short

If defender ≥ attacker, but not double; 1 disorder to attacker if defender rolled even.

If attacker > defender, but not double; 1 disorder to defender if attacker rolled even.

If attacker > double defender, but not triple; 1 disorder to defender and roll critical event table

If attacker > triple defender; 2 disorder and roll critical event table


+1 to unit uphill of opponent

+1 to attacker if Infantry and charging

+2 to attacker if Cavalry and charging

-1 to target if flanked

-2 to target if attacked from rear


Musketry Attacks

Assume that standard muskets have max range of 1L.  They become increasingly ineffectual at range.

Ensure LOS and range, Both units roll, add Shooting Combat value, add modifiers.

If defender ≥ attacker; volley missed

If attacker > defender, but not double; 1 disorder to defender if attacker rolled even

If attacker > double defender, but not triple; 1 disorder to defender and roll critical event table

If attacker > triple defender; 2 disorder and roll critical event table


+1 to firing unit if target at short range

-1 to firing unit if target at long range

+1 to target if in light cover

+2 to target if in heavy cover


Bombardment Attacks

Assume standard cannons have a max range of 3M.  Short range is within 1M to target.  At this range, canister shot can be used. If canister shot is used all increases to disorder result in critical event roll.

Ensure LOS and range, Both units roll, add Shooting Combat value, add modifiers.

If defender ≥ attacker; volley missed

If attacker > defender, but not double; 1 disorder to defender if attacker rolled even

If attacker > double defender, but not triple; 1 disorder to defender and roll critical event table

If attacker > triple defender; 2 disorder and roll critical event table


+1 to firing unit if target at 0M – M range

-1 to firing unit if target at 2M – 3M range

+1 to target if in heavy cover



If a 1 is rolled on a colored die, a blunder occurs.  Roll on the following table to determine result.


1 – Garbled Orders, Reroll one of the successful activation dice.  Keep result.

2 – Hesitation, Unit forfeits all successful orders but does not cause turnover.

3 – Forward, Unit moves forward at its full movement rate.

4 – Fall Back! Unit moves its full movement rate in the opposite direction, but retains facing

5 – Charge! If an enemy unit is within 1M, use first action to charge nearest enemy unit.

6 – Fire!  Unit uses first action to fire on nearest unit in range, enemy or friendly. 


Critical Event Table

Roll 2 D6. 

2-3: Officer Killed! From this turn forward, the unit is unable to be ordered by the general.  It can only be activated singly.

4: Broken Line! Unit must spend next activation reforming its lines.  Until lines are reformed it receives no modifiers due to formation.    

5: Petrified! Unit may not be activated next turn.

6-8: Devastating Volley! Unit recoils one short

9: Panic!  Unit suffers one DIS

10: Wavering!  The unit gains the wavering special rule, and is unable to rally if it has 3DIS

11-12: Rout!  From this turn forward, unit will automatically turn and move towards its original deployment zone.  Routing can only be stopped by rolling three successful activations.

Basic Units
Units have the following statistics; Quality, Speed, Melee Combat, and Ranged Combat. If applicable they also have range according to their weapon type. 

Special Rules
Special rules can be added to give units additional flavor and differentiate between unit types. 

In the near future I will work to outline basic units and the special rules I believe should accompany them.